June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Design in Engineering Education
26.81.1 - 26.81.13
A Pilot for Integrating Capstone Design with a Two-Semester Innovation & Entrepreneurship Course SequenceIn this paper we discuss a pilot program to integrate senior-year capstone engineering designwith a two-semester course sequence that addresses innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E),these topics representing an evolving core thread in the curriculum to address the demands of21st Century careers. The pilot has specifically addressed the challenges of doing this withmultidisciplinary design projects. The pilot team is comprised of experienced capstone designcoordinators from several disciplines together with faculty who teach entrepreneurship andcoordinated through the Office of the Vice-Provost for Academic Entrepreneurship.The approach has been to create separate multidisciplinary sections of the two-semester seniorcapstone design course, each section with a domain association such as healthcare, energy androbotics. Each section has a lead faculty coordinator with other faculty advisers as consultantswhere appropriate from the disciplines involved in each of the projects. A typical pilot sectionhas been 30-35 students, with a project team size of 3-5 students. Thus each coordinator isresponsible for 6-10 projects. The pilot was initiated in Fall 2012 with 50 students in twodomains; healthcare and energy, was expanded in Fall 2013 to 130 in three domains: healthcare,energy and robotics and for Fall 2014 expanded to approx. 240 students from 6 engineeringprograms. For the 2014/5 year, in addition to the multidisciplinary projects, several engineeringprograms have adopted the pilot format for their disciplinary capstone projects. The goal is fullimplementation across all engineering programs (approx 500 students) in 2015/16. The two-course I&E sequence was initially structured as 1.5 credits per semester but was transitioned to a2 (Fall) and 1 (Spring) credit split in the latest iteration. Most importantly the senior projectteams are scheduled into an I&E course section as a team to facilitate the capstone projectintegration with these courses. The courses strive to directly develop the relevant I&E conceptsin the context of each design project.The desired outcomes of the program are to: enhance the students’ understanding and adoptionof relevant project management and business considerations in their capstone projects; developan entrepreneurial perspective that can inform the development and context for their project;nurture the personal attributes associated with I&E that can benefit students in careers in aglobally competitive environment where an entrepreneurial mindset and competencies are anenabler both in developing new ventures or in the broader corporate context.The paper discusses the significant challenges in implementing a coordinated approach,especially in the multidisciplinary context, including the need to meet program capstoneoutcomes and achieve consistency in the assessment of student performance against a commonset of rubrics/instruments for the core outcomes in addition to those that are program specific.Results of the pilot from both student and faculty evaluations are described.
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